Learning Circle Reflections - April 2017


The April 'Learning Circle Reflections' come from Donna Gaywood. 

This month's session on 26th April focused Children's Rights and was led by Alison Moore and Aline Cole-Albäck.
During this session, we were able to look at a summary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Alison and Aline outlined some of the underpinning theory held about children’s rights for example:
- Will theory: because children don’t have the capacity to claim their rights, adults should act on behalf of children
  • - Interests theory: it is the adults’ responsibility to protect children’s interests 

Both Alison and Aline outlined their research and explained how children’s rights are woven into their designs. Alison was particularly interested in ensuring the understanding of children’s rights was accessible to all the research participants. She found that Lundy’s model was the most accessible model, see for instance:

- Department of Children and Youth Affaires (2015) National Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-making, 2015–2020. Dublin: Government Publications.

- Lundy, L. (2007) Voice is not enough: conceptualising Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child. British Educational Research Journal, 33(6), pp.927-942.

Aline made the point that how you view the child and the world impacts the interpretation of children’s rights. For example whether you see children’s rights as a human right or from a duty of care perspective. She explained:

- Virtue ethics depends on compassionate feelings towards the child, and the child is given support because adults feel children deserve it

- Deontological ethics see children as legally entitled to support and suggest that these rights should be embedded in law

Aline suggested that the first perspective could be subjective, and based on cultural understandings risk being relativistic, and therefore could endorse cultural practices which breached children’s rights e.g. FGM, honour killings and child marriage.

Rights, Wants and Needs

A clear distinction was drawn between rights, wants and needs. We played a game produced by UNICEF where we had picture cards and in pairs, we had to decide what we believed was a right, a want and a need. There was a healthy discussion throughout. The game is available online.

Aline then mentioned how in Finland, rights-based policy rhetoric has been adopted into the new Early Years Framework (2016), bringing children’s rights into the mainstream.

A copy of the presentation from this session can be found here.



The next Learning Circle meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 12th May and will be lead by Elisabetta Biffi (ERASMUS visiting student from University of Milan). It will focus on Pedagogical Documentation.

The Learning Circle meetings are open to all with an interest in early childhood studies. You can also request to join the Learning Circle Group on Facebook.


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